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Small businesses readying for stimulus loans

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 19:40:57-05

SAN DIEGO — Small business owners across San Diego County are about to put in for their share of a $285 billion pot of forgivable federal loans.

That’s because a new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans is part of the new stimulus package, to help small businesses make it through the pandemic.

“Obviously, we have major restrictions on us and visits are down probably more than ever right now,” said Cat Kom, owner of Studio Sweat in Rancho Bernardo.

Even moving the exercise bikes outside was a struggle for the gym. Kom got stuck in the elevator for more than an hour before fire rescue crews got her out.

But she finally sees some help on the way - in the new stimulus package.

“As long as they do their best and it's moral and the funding goes to the small businesses that really need it, and loopholes aren’t exploited, then that's the best that we can hope for,” she said.

The first round did not go smoothly. In fact, major corporations like Shake Shack got the maximum $10 million, and paid it back after public outcry,.

This time, however, there are protections against that.

Eligibility is limited to companies with up to 300 employees, down from 500 in the first round. Loans are capped at $2 million, down from $10 million, and companies must show revenue down 25 percent in at least one quarter - compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

“Congress doesn't want a P.R. nightmare and I think they want to try to help the people that need it but not dump taxpayers money into big business that's doing just fine,” said Kelly DuFord Williams, managing partner at Slate Law Group.

Small businesses have been waiting for that help for months.

Once the stimulus package becomes law, small businesses can apply for the loans through their banks.